Think for a moment about product packaging:
Everything that we buy, from dish soap to artesian water, comes in some type of package. Being the rational consumers that we are, we often tell ourselves that the shape of the container, the way that the container is delivered to us, or even the design and colors on the outside of the package doesn’t influence our decision to purchase.
The more honest, irrational consumer, however, will admit that all those factors influenced their purchasing decision, but they won’t admit it in a way that can be quantified, researched and measured in a way that will produce repeatable results.
Instead, they’ll just say “I liked the bottle.” Or even “The wine tastes different in this glass versus that glass.”
In the fields of marketing, advertising, and sales, the psychology of influence has been used for years to design packaging that has sold millions of units of products over decades. Proctor and Gamble doesn’t just exist because of fancy investments.
The peace builder who wants to sell a workshop, seminar, or coaching, should examine closely the impact of influence in three areas, if they want to have a successful sales career selling solutions to conflicts to a conflict comfortable, and peace process skeptical, public:
When selling an intangible product (peace, health, stress relief) or service (legal help, social work, therapy) it’s important to remember that rationality ceases to be a driver of the decision making process to buy: Potential clients may claim that rationality drove their decision to pursue peacemaking as a process, but typically what drove their decison making was the rise of their emotions around their conflict, that encouraged them toward your workshop, seminar, or coaching offer.
The same emotional content that drives conflict escalation (and encourages de-escalation) drives product (peace, health, stress relief) or service (legal help, social work, therapy) purchases: This fact makes it hard for the peace builder to sell, which is why their marketing efforts must be robust, always on, and always human.
No one remembers what you told them, but potential clients will remember how you made them feel: This statement sometimes reads as facile, but the fact of the matter is, potential clients are searching for a feeling—of trust, professionalism, confidence, security, competency, etc.—before they even see your marketing materials or hear your sales pitch online. This is why the rise of video (and live streaming) for the peace builder is such a critical tool for driving and converting sales. All of the emotional content comes through in a personal appeal via video.
Packaging a product (peace, health, stress relief) or service (legal help, social work, therapy) is more a matter of determining the “emotional tone” a peace builder would like to strike with the market, and then championing that tone to close sales.
And all without being unethical.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: firstname.lastname@example.org